Hello and welcome to my Best of 2018!
These are, in no particular order, my favourite five-heart reads this year and the reasons why they are still in my head and my heart even though so many days, weeks, months have passed since I read them. Be sure to read until the end, to find out what my Book Of The Year is…
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier: Best classic
The Tall Man by Phoebe Locke: Most chills in the midst of a heatwave
Beton Rouge (Chastity Riley Book 2) by Simone Buchholz: Best ballsy female character / Most beautiful quotes
Sea Witch by Sarah Henning: Best fairy-tale retelling / Best epilogue
Palm Beach Finland by Antti Tuomainen: Best flamingo noir / Best humour
The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware: Best Daphne du Maurier meets Agatha Christie
Skin Deep by Liz Nugent: Best bat-shit-crazy female character
The Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton: Best mind-fuck
Good Samaritans by Will Carver: Best domestic noir / Best dysfunctional characters / Best dark humour
The Book of M by Peng Shepherd: Best dystopia
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman: Best female character
Hydra by Matt Wesolowski: Best audiobook / Best if anyone should knock on the door I will have a heart attack feeling
Pretty Little Things by T.M.E. Walsh: Most satisfying reveal
The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn: Best Hitchcock inspired narrative
The Retreat by Mark Edwards: Best setting / Best I really hope those are mice in the walls feeling
The Silent Companions& The Corset by Laura Purcell (nope I can’t choose, sue me): Best gothic
House of Spines by Michael J. Malone: Best male character / Most satisfying ending
Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier: Best female inmate / Most thrilling
Our House by Louise Candlish: Best rollercoaster read
The Old You by Louise Voss: Best I’m ruined for psychological thrillers for all eternity feeling
Snap by Belinda Bauer: Best snapped me out of my reading slump so fast I almost had whiplash
The Lingeringby S.J.I. Holliday: Best ghost story / best mentally disturbed character / best ghost since Patrick Swayze
The Rumourby Lesley Kara: Best 😱 moments (yes that is in fact what my face looked like at every reveal), best final sentence
While I love the books listed above, when I think back on my year in books there is really only one novel that I remember clear as day, one novel that hasn’t let me go since the day I read it, one novel that had me laughing and crying in equal measure, one novel that beats them all: The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech. Please take a moment to watch this stunning trailer (thank you Cole from Orenda Books!) and don’t forget to turn up the volume!
Before this summer, I had never even heard of Louise Beech. Out of the blue (well, for me at any rate) I saw raving review upon raving review on my Twitter feed and, although not at all what I usually read, I decided to give it a chance anyway. And I ended up devouring it, feeling all the feels, loving it to bits, crying my eyes out. It enchanted me, mesmerised me, ruined me!
I can still see myself sitting at my kitchen island, I still know what I was wearing, I still know which mug I was sipping my coffee from (and okay, crying into, I’ll admit). When I think back on my year in books, out of 244, this is the one I think of first. This, my lovelies, this is The One. Or I have a bad case of PTSD, that is also entirely possible, but let’s go with the former, shall we!
This book is proof that for a story to be thrilling and suspenseful, it doesn’t have to a thriller. This book is proof that an emotional story does not have to be a sob story. This book is proof of Louise Beech’s immense story-telling skill.
My initial reaction after turning the last page was: This book is EVERYTHING! It made me smile, it made me cry, it is written so vividly you can’t help being sucked in. It had been a very long time since I’d cared about characters as much as I did about Ben and Andrew. I felt utterly lost when I’d finished. I felt like I’d had to say goodbye to some very dear friends and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought since reading it: I wonder how Ben is doing, or how every time I see a lopsided smile I think of Andrew. If you buy only one more book this year, if you only read one book next year, make it this one, it really IS everything.
Check out Amazon for this marvelous novel (not an affiliate link, I just want to make it easy for you 😉), the Kindle version in only 99p at the moment, no excuses, buy it, read it, thank me later!